CO.STARTERS is excited to partner with McClure Placemaking to help four rural regions in Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado to develop actionable blueprints to create opportunity in some of the nation’s most economically challenged rural regions.

“McClure Placemaking has an incredible model that helps rural regions create a plan and follow through on it,” said Enoch Elwell. “CO.STARTERS is thrilled to be partnering with McClure to help rural regions, which have unique challenges and opportunities.”

This collaboration is part of the Rural Economic Development Innovation (REDI) initiative, organized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help rural regions create wealth by growing the economy, workforce, and place-based amenities. Earlier this year, rural regions of less than 50,000 applied for technical assistance and to be guided through a planning process to create a full economic development plan to improve the quality of life for current and future residents.

The USDA just announced the names of 47 regions nationwide that will receive assistance from four teams of organizations.

As one of those teams, CO.STARTERS and McClure Placemaking will work with four regions:

  • Gila County, Arizona, including the city of Globe, the town of Miami and San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation
  • Graham County and Greenlee County in Southeast Arizona
  • Grant County, New Mexico
  • Summit County, Colorado

Goals will be to help these regions identify and leverage their existing assets to spur economic development, strengthen workforce pipelines, and build entrepreneurial ecosystems to capitalize on technological innovation, thereby improving the quality of life for both current and future residents.

In these four regions, CO.STARTERS entrepreneurial programming—specifically designed for rural residents—will train more than 160 aspiring entrepreneurs, who are collectively estimated to create more than 139 new businesses. In addition, planning activities will engage more than 425 local residents, serve more than 60 small businesses and organizations, and help regions leverage more than $10 million in public and private investment.

McClure Placemaking, which is a division of Midwest-based McClure Engineering Company, uses creative placemaking to address the unique needs of rural communities. Many rural areas have suffered decades of population decline, generational poverty, low academic attainment, stagnant waves, and housing shortages. But they have unique assets waiting to be engaged for community development and economic growth.